My Friend Eric Rohmann at Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum


The traveling exhibit, My Friend Eric Rohmann, is on display at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. Trip and I were in Omaha over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit family. We went to the Joslyn the day after Thanksgiving. It was a fun visit!

The Joslyn has added a great kids’ area, Art Works. It is a drop-in “place for curiosity.” There are stations to make stop-motion animation, digital paintings, still-life drawings, and other hands-on activities.


Making a short animation movie

The artwork of Eric Rohmann is displayed in two hallway galleries near Art Works. This is another exhibit organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas.

There are delightful animal illustrations from Rohmann’s works, including illustrations from the wonderfully wordless, Time Flies*. (The dinosaur illustrations have made this one of Trip’s favorites!) We discovered some new favorites, like the squirrels in Last Song and the jungle animals of Oh, No!*


“Last Song”

The books were nearby, so they could be read to grandparents (in Trip’s case). Pages with displayed illustrations were marked.

The exhibit is at the Joslyn until January 3, 2016. It is included with the free admission.

*Affiliate links

David (Shannon) Goes to the Museum at Irving Arts Center


The Irving Art Center has an traveling exhibit of illustrations done by David Shannon. The exhibit was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. We went through Abilene too late during our recent trip to New Mexico to see the exhibit; it had just moved on to Irving.

David Shannon is one of Trip’s favorite author/illustrators, so we made a point to see it in Irving.

“David (Shannon) Goes to the Museum” includes familiar illustrations from Shannon’s large collection of work. There were works from familiar stories like No David!Good Boy, Fergus!, and (Trip’s favorite) Too Many Toys. There were also works that we had not read before, such as the Hawaiian legend of The Shark God. And, Bugs in My Hair! had me itching just thinking about lice (ew!).

Throughout the exhibit, there were books to pick up and read, and the pages with displayed works were marked. Trip and I took turns reading to each other in the gallery.

David Shannon

“David (Shannon) Goes to the Museum” is on display in Irving until January 31, 2016 (and free) before it heads off to its next location.

Bonus:  The exhibit “Polar Obsession: Photographs by Paul Nicklen” is spectacular and also on view until January 31 (and also free). Some of the images were familiar, and Trip reminded me that they were on a screensaver on our TV!

Tiger Scouts: Bobcat, Games Tigers Play Loop & Raingutter Regatta


Trip joined Cub Scouts this fall, and as a first grader, he’s a Tiger Scout. I am serving as Den Leader for the Tigers. Trip has received the Bobcat badge, and the den is working on getting the Tiger badge.

The Bobcat badge is the first “rank” boys receive when they join Cub Scouts. To earn the badge, the Scout should:

  1. Learn and say the Scout Oath, with help if needed.
  2. Learn and say the Scout Law, with help if needed.
  3. Show the Cub Scout sign. Tell what it means.
  4. Show the Cub Scout handshake. Tell what it means.
  5. Say the Cub Scout Motto. Tell what it means.
  6. Show the Cub Scout Salute. Tell what it means.
  7. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide—Bobcat Requirements.

Our den played some games and practiced together to complete Requirements #1-6.

The Tigers in the den just completed their “Games Tigers Play” belt loop. It is one of the required loops on the road to earning the Tiger badge.

To earn this loop, the requirements are to:

  1. Play two initiative or team-building games with the members of your den. Listen carefully to your leader while the rules are being explained, and follow directions when playing. At the end of the game, talk with the leader about what you learned when you played the game. Tell how you helped the den by playing your part.
  2. Make up a game with the members of your den.
  3. Make up a new game, and play it with your family or members of your den or pack.
  4. While at a sporting event, ask a player or coach why he or she thinks it is important to be active.
  5. Bring a nutritious snack to a den meeting. Share why you picked it and what makes it a good snack choice.

It was interesting to watch the boys working on their teamwork, listening, and compromising skills, especially with #1 and #2. The assistant den leader and I tried to guide the process. Requirement #3 was especially fun. The boys made up some great games, and they worked on their presentation skills while sharing the games and explaining the rules.

Requirement #4 was awesome. The den went to a local high school girls’ basketball game. On a planning note, girls’ high school games seem more accessible than boys’ games because the coach was willing to meet with Raingutterthe boys, ticket prices were reasonable, and (for better or for worse) they don’t always have high attendance. I had arranged to meet with the coach after the game.

The boys were extremely excited to cheer on the home team, and it was  a close game in the end. Later the girls told us they could hear the boys cheering and yelling, and they loved it. The coach and the entire team met with the Tigers for about ten minutes after the game and answered questions about being athletes. (And…everyone was in pretty good spirits because the home team won!)

Our pack also had the Raingutter Regatta. The boys decorated boats from a kit. My parents were in town the week before the event, and my dad helped Michael fashion a Minions boat with blue and yellow paint and printed duct tape. Trip took home a few trophies–one for first place among the Tigers and the other for third place overall. It was a fun afternoon.

Now, the boys are working on the next loop–Tiger Bites!

Leslie Sansone The Burn to the Beat! Walk Review


I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for review purposes. Affiliate links are marked (*).

Leslie Sansone has a new release, The Burn to the Beat! Walk (2015)*. Thisburn is a great beginner to advanced beginner workout.

The workout is divided into three sections: a 20-minute “Easy Beat Mile,” a 15-minute “Brisk Beat Mile,” and a 12-minute “Super Beat Mile.”

The 20-minute “Easy Beat Mile” includes a warm up. During this workout, there is a 3 mph beat, and Sansone introduces the four core moves that are included in all her walking workouts–marches, side-to-side steps, kicks, and knee ups. Sansone says this is a good workout to “warm up or rejuvenate.”

The 15-minute “Brisk Beat Mile” is set to a 4 mph beat. The moves include the classic walking moves, and there are slightly more complicated steps like V-Steps.

The final workout, the 12-minute “Super Beat Mile,” is done to a 5 mph beat. This workout includes “boosted” moves like small jumps, shuffles with punches. The cool down follows this workout.

The DVD also includes a 20-minute “After the Burn” toning workout that focuses on the core and lower body. There are moves like bridges, opposite reach balance while on all fours, and planks.

This workout is uncomplicated and is done at a beginner to intermediate level. As always, Sansone is perky and offers great cues. She also offers good life tips. In this workout, she suggests that viewers not allow too much time to pass without exercising. She says, “Your health can’t wait.”

There is no option to customize your own workout, which would have been a good inclusion.

2015 Halloween Playlist


Trip has informed me that October is his favorite month. “The leaves are changing [as much as they do in Texas], the weather is nice, and Halloween!” He absolutely loves seeing the Halloween decorations and drawing spooky scenes. He tells ghost stories (complete with creaky vocal frying). I tend to agree with Trip. Pumpkin spice everything, cooler temps, fall fun…

My Halloween playlist continues to grow. Here are more songs with Halloween-ish themes to add to a spooky playlist.


Halloween 2014

1. Dance of the Swamp Woman, Five Man Electrical Band
2. Witchcraft, Book of Love
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), David Bowie
4. Back From the Grave, Chromatics
5. Voodoo, Godsmack
6. Moonlight [A Vampire’s Dream], Stevie Nicks
7. Dracula Moon, Joan Osborne
8. Black Cat, Janet Jackson
9. Costume Makes the Clown, Shakira
10. Witchcraft, Sinatra
11. Dracula, Bea Miller
12. Ghost Town, Adam Lambert
13. Graves, Whiskey Shivers
14. Tombstone Blues, Bob Dylan
15. Cruella De Vil (from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians), Bill Lee

(Check out playlists from 2012, 2013, and 2014.)

Happy Halloween!

I’m guessing that in a month or so, I’ll start hearing why December is the greatest month!

Night Club Cardio Class Review


Dance workouts are a popular way to get in some cardio, and there are many styles to choose from. Dance party workouts are a popular choice. At Houston-area YMCAs, there is Night Club Cardio.

The description according to the YMCA class schedule:Houston YMCA

Night Club Cardio®: A cardio dance party that fuses exercise with dance moves in a nightclub setting. Dance moves are easy to follow and set to the hottest hits across multiple genres including: pop, hip-hop, free-style, disco, Latin, Bollywood, swing and many more.

Expect the lights to be dimmed during the class. Effect lights shine red, yellow, blue, and green lights. (Like a night club…)

The music is loud, and for the most part, it has included more recent pop hits (like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and some Pharrell). I have not really experienced a mix of genres like Bollywood and swing. The instructor demonstrates the moves, which are choreographed to the music. The moves are repeated multiple times, so the routines can be learned.

Intensity and instruction will vary based on instructor. With one instructor, I barely broke a sweat, and she didn’t show many modifications. A second instructor offered a more intense workout with modifications that added energy (like jumps). There are some toning moves, like squats and lunges, but the emphasis is on cardio.

There may or may not be verbal cueing during class. I prefer a class with verbal cues. It can be difficult to see the instructor in a crowded class. You don’t always see hand motions indicating direction or move changes.

The class is fun if you like to dance, appreciate choreography, and like a festive environment (thanks to the nightclub lighting). It’s a beginner to intermediate level workout. There is not necessarily a consistency from class to class if you get different instructors.